Many of us learned in English class that an antagonist is a person or thing that a hero fights. But in biomedical science, an antagonist is a molecule that binds to a cellular receptor to prevent a response, such as a muscle contraction or hormone release. Antagonists can be important medical treatments, like the antagonist naloxone—also known as Narcan —that can reverse an opioid overdose.Continue reading “In Other Words: Some Antagonists Are Heroes”
Tag: In Other Words
Your body has four basic types of tissues:
- Muscle tissue provides movement. Types include voluntary muscles, like those in the arms and legs, and involuntary muscles, such as those that move food through the digestive system.
- Nervous tissue carries messages throughout the body and includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
- Connective tissue supports other tissues and binds them together. Examples include ligaments, tendons, bones, and fat.
- Epithelial tissue creates protective barriers and includes the skin and the linings of internal passageways.
For many people, the word pathway may bring to mind stepping stones in a garden or a trail through a forest. But when biologists talk about a pathway, they’re referring to a series of actions among molecules in a cell that leads to a certain product or change within that cell. Pathways maintain balance during walking, control how the eyes’ pupils respond to light, and affect skin’s reaction to changing temperature. They control our bodies’ responses to the world, and errors in them can lead to disease.Continue reading “In Other Words: The Pathways Inside Our Bodies”
In everyday use, most people understand translation to mean converting words from one language to another. But when biologists talk about translation, they mean the process of making proteins based on the genetic information encoded in messenger RNA (mRNA). Proteins are essential for virtually every process in our bodies, from transporting oxygen to defending against infection, so translation is vital for keeping us alive and healthy.Continue reading “In Other Words: Translation Isn’t Only for Languages”